Role of Reward & Recognition in effective Employee Engagement

Written by guest blogger Lottie Gunn 19th May 2016
James Murphy, Founder & Director of Membership Services of the Employee Engagement Alliance, welcomed the group of HR and engagement specialists to Instinctif’s offices in Gresham Street and kicked off the event, where we discussed the business benefits of reward and recognition being part of an employee engagement programme.

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14% of R&R programmes fail as they are financial; top down and extrinsic, as opposed to intrinsic (values based) which can also include gamification and the impact that has.

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Kate Reilly and Sheneen Harris from PPL spoke about their R&R programme and the review and benchmarking they did before they implemented an old one. Their new programme takes into account what employees want and their demographic. Since implementing their programme they’ve seen a rise in revenue for the company. They said that some of the more low cost benefits such as fruit had the highest impact.


Antonella Vaughan, Business Advisor from Purple Cubed, talked about the fact that reward and recognition schemes are used to retain employees and change behavior. Antonella emphasized the need to use both reward and recognition together (reward is tangible and recognition should ideally be a surprise and spontaneous). Antonella emphasized that when organisations link their R&R programmes with their employee engagement strategy there can be a 30% increase in retention.

She discussed a number of case studies in which giving gifts and not ‘cold, hard, cash’ enable people to have more of an emotional connection with the item and the perceived value is greater. You also don’t need to justify the spend to yourself… I.e buying a really expensive coffee machine that you wouldn’t normally do.


The afternoon concluded with a panel discussion with the speakers and Victoria Lewis-Stephens, Managing Partner, Engagement from Instinctif. The summary points were:

  1. Make sure your R&R scheme is applicable for your culture and demographic and links with your employee engagement strategy
  2. Small, low cost perks can make a big impact, including a simple ‘thank you’
  3. Communicate your rewards and benefits (through induction, Total Reward Statements, reviews, intranet pages, etc.)
  4. Link your recognition scheme with your values – people should be recognised for what’s important to the company and what will ultimately help it succeed
  5. Don’t get complacent – keep your programmes up to date and relevant to your company/ demographics
  6. Measure your R&R programme through business performance. Ensure you have the basics in place first – pay, job descriptions, tools to do the job, etc.

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A collaborative post with Enterprise Strategies’ Internal Digital Strategy Advisor – Lesley Crook, Consultant – Jackie Mills and Community Manager- Kelsey Steuer.

At Enterprise Strategies, we partner with our clients to Deliver the Future of Work–including launching social tools and encouraging adoption of new platforms. Internally, our team understands the benefits of working digitally and we follow the same best practices we share with our clients.

Our firm uses an enterprise social network (ESN) to bring our team together. Often, we are in different locations working on the same project, and an ESN enables us to connect in real-time more effectively and efficiently. Here are some examples from different team members on how we work out loud:


Community management uses variety of avenues for marketing–social channels, speaking engagements, blogging, and operations management. Posting updates in our internal ESN is key to keeping everything organized. Because we share information in an open, collaborative, real-time platform, we spend our “meeting time” together strategizing how to improve what we deliver instead of updating each other simply on work we are doing.

In our community management related groups we:

Post links in our Marketing Group to let our team know when new blog posts are live on the site, along with suggested hashtags and keywords to use if they choose to post it on their individual social accounts.

Create a designated group for larger conferences we are speaking at and collaborate with senior advisors on finalizing presentations, customizing branded deliverables, and coordinating travel etc.

Ask questions and share company-related updates with team members in our Operations Group, including sharing links to operations’ meeting agendas, syncing up with coworkers on availability, and troubleshooting our tools and platforms.


When we start a new client project, our team creates a dedicated group on our internal ESN where we communicate and collaborate on anything project-related. After inviting team members, the project manager shares links to all essential documents, such as client information, scope of work, and project plan.

From start to finish on a project, we have conversations in our ESN as much as possible to help reduce the amount of email and work more transparently as a team. In our client groups, we:

Share links to drafts of deliverables, asking for feedback and revisions in real-time

Post updates from client meetings so they are visible to the entire team

Ask questions in the stream to ensure answers are searchable by everyone

Make announcements to update everyone on changes in schedule, project plan, etc.

For many of our projects, we create an external group or network on our ESN to allow us to collaborate socially with our clients instead of relying on email. This is really helpful in terms of showing our clients in real-time how digital teams can help companies work smarter, faster, and better–and set the example for overall digital transformation.


Using an ESN makes it easy to build rapport with colleagues we have briefly met or in many cases will never meet. Be it team building, setting objectives or fast decision making collaborating on an ESN is vital to our company culture and successful delivery of projects.

We also:

On-board new hires efficiently and effectively by inviting them to introduce themselves with a brief know-how summary and what they hope to bring to the team. We encourage them to dig deep into our ESN in their first week to get a sense of our culture.

Nurture a healthy “work-life” balance by sharing real-time personal updates like #holidays #pets #sports #family etc. This has really helped to shape our team and bring us closer together.

Post on the road updates like #lateforwork #traffic #weather helps allay stressful situations.

Our consultants are based across USA, Caribbean and Europe. We are in constant contact and no longer feel the need to email.

Our ESN brings it all together. We don’t have to search our inbox for the latest version of a presentation or ask coworkers for links to files. Because we work out loud as a collective team, and post questions for others to read we learn from each other. We maximize knowledge while minimizing effort. Working Out Loud on our internal ESN allows us to work smarter, not harder.

Have questions on some of the ways our team works out loud? Maybe your company has had success with other tactics? Share in the comments below.